Toba Tek Singh, an adaptation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s short story by the same name, has premiered in ZEE5 Film Festival and its online OTT platform.
Directed by Ketan Mehta and starred by Pankaj Kapur and Vinay Pathak, the story is based on post-partition when the Indian and Pakistani governments decided to exchange some Muslim, Sikh and Hindu lunatics.
Director Mehta has got veteran actor Pankaj Kapur, Shahid Kapoor’s father, to play the iconic character of Bishen Singh while Manto’s character is played by Vinay Pathak.
The movie captures the story of a mental asylum where friendship extends beyond the ties of religion in the aftermath of Indo-Pak partition; it delves deeper into the pain of separation from the people you love and place you call home.
It focuses on Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an asylum in Lahore and a native of the town of Toba Tek Singh. Bishan is sent with police escorts to India, but when he’s told that his hometown lies in Pakistan, he refuses to leave.
Talking about the project, Mehta said, “It’s an hour-long film, and we shot it in 10 days. Budgets were non-existent and we were filming for virtually 24 hours a day. When I thought of Bishen Singh’s character, I could only think of Pankaj Kapur. With his long beard, he looks like a mad man in the film.”
But no matter how tough the shoot may have been, Pankaj Kapur’s thrilled to have been a part of it. “Based on what I’ve read so far, there is no bigger story about the partition than Toba Tek Singh. The story has been close to my heart for years, and when Ketan came to me with the idea of making a film on it, I had to be a part of it,” stated Pankaj Kapur.
BRIDGING THE BORDER:
In ZEE5 Film Festival, 12 films – six each from India and Pakistan– will be featured every Friday on a weekly basis starting August 24, 2018. Toba Tek Singh was the opening movie for the festival.
Commenting on the release, Mehta said he was delighted to be part of the festival which “is a brilliant initiative showcasing thought-provoking films from India and Pakistan to the audience through an OTT platform and a film festival format.”
He hoped that the movie is able to spark conversations about the topic, and said, “Hopefully, we will be able to jointly prompt the next generation towards a better tomorrow.”
Movies that premiered from Pakistan include Jeewan Hathi, Moomal Rano, Lala Begum, Chotay Shah, Laloolal.Com and Khaemae Main Matt Jhankain.